Circular route starting and finishes at the Ards Visitor Information Centre

This is an 82 mile (132km ) circular route in and around Strangford Lough, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The trail travels through a variety of scenic landscapes along quiet country roads, with some traffic free sections in urban areas. The Ards Peninsula section from Newtownards to Portaferry offers breathtaking Irish Sea coastal views and on a clear day both Scotland and Isle of Man are visible. 

The route travels through the fishing village of Portavogie and past the National Trust protected village of Kearney before continuing to Portaferry. After a short ferry crossing to Strangford village, the trail continues through the National Trust owned Castle Ward Estate along a traffic free path.

The route returns to Newtownards via Downpatrick, an historic town and burial site of Saint Patrick. As the route makes its way up the western shore of Strangford Lough it passes through Killyleagh with its ornate chateau-style Castle. The final leg from Comber to Newtownards travels past Killynether Wood, beneath Scrabo Tower and Country Park with superb panoramic views over Strangford Lough. 

Map/Guides :, also available to purchase at Ards Visitor Information Centre. 

Please feel free to download:  Cycling Guide (PDF) (4MB)


Travelling on public transport with your bicycle

Please contact Translink for information on how to book your bike on board bus or rail when travelling between areas. Translink can help plan your trip throughout Northern Ireland and advise further on how to reach areas of the Republic of Ireland too. Of course our Visitor information Centre staff are always just a phone call away for expert area knowledge on 028 9127 0069 or 028 9182 6846.


More useful links

You may wish to refer to the following web pages for further information on routes both in our borough, Ards and North Down, within County Down and throughout Northern Ireland:

Cycle NI

Discover Northern Ireland, cycling



Wild About Tours

David Thompson and Celia Spouncer

T: 075 6843 9366  or 077 2564 6333

E: or

WildAbout offer bespoke and guided tours, workshops and events connecting with wild Strangford Lough and Ards Peninsula area.

Tailored for individuals, businesses or groups themes include wildlife tours, field skills, boat trips, cycle tours and treks, foraging, cooking in the wild, exploring historic landscapes, Slow Adventure trips and forest school themes.


Bed and Bike Self-Guided and Guided cycling trips

Opening Times

  • Route accessible all year


  • Free

Contact Details

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